Ex-General Probed for Qatari Lobbying on Leave From DHS Advisory Council

Ex-General Probed for Qatari Lobbying on Leave From DHS Advisory Council former marine gen. john allen testifies during a confirmation hearing in 2011  Former Marine Gen. John Allen (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By Solange Reyner | Monday, 13 June 2022 04:54 PM

Former Marine Gen. John Allen, a Department of Homeland Security advisory council member who is being investigated by the FBI for alleged secret lobbying on behalf of Qatar, was placed on leave, reports The Washington Examiner.

He has also resigned from his role as president of the Brookings Institution.

FBI agents in May executed a search warrant of Allen’s emails. According to an FBI affidavit, the four-star general lobbied the Trump administration and Congress in 2017 on behalf of Qatar, lied to the FBI about the nature of his work and failed to turn over “incriminating” emails to investigators, including one where he asked for a $20,000 speaker’s fee to meet with Qatari officials to discuss strategy to influence the Trump administration to publicly call on Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt to end an air, land and sea blockade of Qatar.

The blockade was put in place over Qatar's alleged ties to terror groups and other issues.

Shortly after the blockade was announced, then-President Donald Trump appeared to side against Qatar.

The court papers say Allen played an important role in shifting the U.S. response. Specifically, authorities say Allen lobbied then-National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster to have the Trump administration adopt more Qatar-friendly tone.

In an email to McMaster, Allen said the Qataris wanted the White House or State Department to issue a statement with language calling on all sides of the Gulf diplomatic crisis to “act with restraint.”

Federal law enforcement officials say then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson did just that two days later, issuing a statement that called on other Gulf countries to “ease the blockade against Qatar” and asked “that there be no further escalation by the parties in the region.”

As part of the lobbying campaign, federal law enforcement authorities say, Olson and Allen traveled to Qatar to meet with the country's ruling emir and other top officials.

Saudi Arabia reopened its land border and air space to Qatar in January 2021.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Original Article